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UW–Madison Smart Restart: For information about fall semester instruction and campus operations, please visit smartrestart.wisc.edu. For COVID-19 news updates, see covid19.wisc.edu.

Are your children tired of coloring bunnies, flowers, or comic characters? Are you seeking a diversion with a scientific bent? Now is your chance to familiarize yourself and your captive youth audience with trimeric spike proteins and other intricacies of the SARS-CoV-2 virus through art.

Thanks to Jean-Vyes Sgro, senior scientist in UW–Madison’s Department of Biochemistry, a COVID-19 coloring book is now available. The graphics-ready-to-color were created with ChimeraX, a molecular visualization software and include the entire virus structure, spike proteins, spikes with ACE2 receptors — all in varying forms and levels of detail.

Sgro recognized that parents (now spending lots of time at home) might appreciate an activity to keep their little ones occupied, and it was a natural offshoot from other booklets he was producing to teach molecular visualization skills. Citing a translation of the Jean de La Fontaine fable The Lion and the Rat, Sgro encouraged “as much as we can, we must help everyone.”

“Let’s all breathe, be patient and nice to each other while we await for better days, with patience and understanding,” he concluded.

The book is offered under a Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.